Every year organizational leaders get together to discuss the future. They set goals, define measures of success, and develop plans. Most call it strategic planning.
This work is very important, but it’s largely tactical. Mistaking it for strategy forsakes the opportunity to affect the market you operate in. It’s declaring victory way too early.
The whole point of strategy is manipulating the external forces working against your organization to improve the prospects of your tactics. Tactics deployed in absence of strategy do succeed, but often by chance and very often in vain.
Strategy must be focused outside the organization. And it must involve some degree of deception. These distinctions are critical to its success.
So, while most organizations mistake tactics for strategy, they survive because, well, most organizations mistake tactics for strategy. The opportunity to strategically dominate the market remains available to those who recognize their mistake.
It’s kind of like chess. You can’t win relying on tactics alone. But at least in chess, the need for strategy becomes painfully obvious after just a few games.